The Future is Bright For Detroit Sports

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Matthew Merrifield, Sports Writer

At the moment, Detroit might be one of the worst sports cities in America. In 2019, the Red Wings, Tigers, Lions, and Pistons lost a combined 226 games. This was not only the most in Detroit’s history, but in all of North American sports as well. That’s right, the 2019 year wasn’t just the worst Detroit’s ever seen, but the worst any city has seen. Luckily, due to the corona virus shutting down sports for a majority of the year we won’t be able to break the record again. Fortunately, sports teams go through cycles and what goes down will eventually come back up, and although is doesn’t seem like it, the future is bright for our beloved sports teams and I’m here to breakdown each teams future.

Detroit Red Wings:

The Detroit Red Wings are coming off their third worst season in franchise history and their worst since 1986. It’s been four years since the end of their 25-year playoff streak. These struggles have allowed the wings to bring in high draft picks which we used to get a wave of young talent like: Michael Rasmussen, Filip Zadina, Joe Veleno, Moritz Seider, and Lucas Raymond. We have only seen limited amounts of these players, but the promise is their. Also, the return of Steve Yzerman as General Manager is very promising especially since the Tampa Bay Lightning, who just won the Stanley Cup, were built by Yzerman when he was their General Manager. The wings will still have to wait before they sign big name players to help their young core as they’re still paying off bad contracts from years past like Henrik Zetterberg, Stephen Weiss, and Justin Abdelkader who was bought out this week. The wings still have a long road ahead in their rebuild, but the foundation is there, I would expect them to get better each year, but it will be 2-3 years before they compete for the playoffs and beyond.

Detroit Tigers:

It appears that the worst days are behind the Tigers especially after the season they put together in 2020. Although they finished last in the division for the third time in four years, they had their best winning percentage since 2016. They showed a lot of improvement and were competing for a playoff spot for most of the season before a collapse in the final weeks of the season. However, this collapse allowed the Tigers to finish with the third

worst record in the league giving them the third pick in the draft next June, to add another top prospect. The Tigers easily have the best group of young talent out of any team in Detroit and rank fifth in baseball for their farm system. We have already seen two of our top prospects get called up with starting pitchers Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal, who showed lots of promise. The Tigers still have more top prospects that should get the call-up either next season or in 2022 like Matt Manning, Riley Greene, Joey Wentz, and Spencer Torkelson who was taken with the no. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. While there are still lots of holes in this Tigers team, there is lots of promise and I expect another two years before they are a playoff contender.

Detroit Lions:

The Lions are stuck in a very bad situation. Since the hiring of Matt Patricia only bad things have happened, they went 9-7 in 2017 and fired former coach Jim Caldwell to hire Matt Patricia. At the time it

appeared that the Lions would continue to rise and compete however, they have gone just 10-25-1 since the hiring. The moves made by General Manager Bob Quinn appear that the Lions are still trying to compete while Matt Stafford is still young. However, they have dumped top players like Darius Slay, Quandre Diggs, and Damon Harrison. The direction of this team is unclear, and I think that is causing more problems for the team. They’re off to a rough start already in 2020, with a 1-3 record through four weeks and wins will be tough to come by down the stretch. If I was ownership I would commit to a rebuild, and fire Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn for a fresh start because the Patriots way in Detroit has not worked. The Lions future is very uncertain, and unlike the wings and tigers, a lot of work needs to be done.

Detroit Pistons:

The Pistons for the last decade have been the most mediocre team in the league. They never finished above 8th in the conference or below 12th which is probably the worst position to be in for the NBA. They’ve been only good enough to make the playoffs twice, but they haven’t been bad enough or lucky enough in the lottery to get a top pick in the draft to get a franchise player. They’ve continually drafted good role players, but no one great

enough to turn the franchise around. They did try to bring in Blake Griffin for a front court tandem with Andre Drummond, unfortunately this did not make any difference. However, it seems that the team is now committed to a rebuild after trading Andre Drummond last season. The Pistons do have the 7th pick in this year’s draft, and with the high amount of talent they should be able to find a top player to start the rebuild. Unfortunately, unlike the other major sports, in the NBA you need  to have top 3 picks consistently if you want to rebuild quickly, so I expect the Pistons to continue to get worse, but I do believe that 4-5 years’ time with some luck they could be a force in the NBA.